Steppin’ Out for a lively evening of musical masterpieces: review

By | November 20, 2022

In her pre-show speech for “Steppin’ Out With Irving Berlin,” Winter Park Playhouse govt Heather Alexander omitted her traditional reminder to the viewers to chorus from singing together with the professionals on stage. She should not have.

However even a jaded critic may be considerably forgiving if individuals get carried away by Berlin’s masterpieces and discover themselves vocalizing a line or two. (I emphasize slightly forgiveness: keep in mind that your fellow theatergoers paid to listen to the professionals sing, not you!)

“Steppin’ Out With Irving Berlin,” which premiered proper right here in Central Florida on the Playhouse, is simply that form of present, although. Each tune is hummable, the toes begin tapping on their very own accord.

Roy Alan, left, and Adam T. Biner's team for a double act in "A couple of waves" (photo) as well as an anime "Anything you can do (I can do better)."

Berlin, after all, was a musical marvel, penning over 1,500 songs in his lifetime. So winnowing that checklist for “Steppin’ Out” should have been a problem for Playhouse’s artistic staff of Roy Alan, Christopher Leavy, and Todd Allen Lengthy.

They did properly on this revised version of the musical, which the Playhouse first offered a decade in the past, mixing acquainted tunes with lesser-known gems. (“Marie from Sunny Italy”, anybody?)

Irving Berlin, seen in this undated file photo, lived to be 101.

This ditty, by the best way, was Berlin’s first printed track, as Lengthy’s concise narration tells us. The present is filled with attention-grabbing info, although it skimps on just a few key particulars such because the unimaginable longevity of Berlin’s life – he was 101 when he died in his sleep in 1989 – or the ironic tragedy that the The person who gave us the preferred Christmas track misplaced his solely son and namesake on Christmas Day 1928, lower than a month after he was born.

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Possibly that is as a result of the creators wished to maintain “Steppin’ Out” upbeat, and it is most positively a sunny present. Alan’s faucet choreography drives a number of numbers, together with a enjoyable solo on “No Strings,” however equally uplifting are the swish dances – à la Fred and Ginger – carried out by Alan and a luminous Tay Anderson.

Director Steven Flaa lets his polished solid present audiences simply how a lot enjoyable they’ve, however by no means on the expense of music appreciation – “Alexander’s Ragtime Band”, “An Outdated-Long-established Marriage ceremony”, “Sisters”, ” Doin ‘What Comes Natur ‘lly’, ‘White Christmas’ and so forth.

Valerie Torres-Rosario and Adam T. Biner shine on “It is a Pretty Day Immediately”, Larry Alexander’s tenor provides an attractive poignant contact in “They Say It is Fantastic”, Rebecca Jo Lightfoot lights up the stage in “The Hostess With the Mostes “. ‘ on the ball.”

A neat twist on an previous traditional comes when “Something You Can Do (I Can Do Higher)” turns from a battle of the sexes to a macho posturing recreation between Biner and Alan. And I may take heed to an entire live performance of Anderson, Lightfoot and Torres-Rosario performing these tight Forties lady group harmonies after their magnificent “Any Bonds Immediately?”

The cast of Winter Park Playhouse "Dating Irving Berlin" let the music shine.  Left to right are Roy Alan, Valerie Torres-Rosario, Larry Alexander, Tay Anderson, Adam T. Biner and Rebecca Jo Lightfoot.

Leavy’s musical preparations mix songs in attention-grabbing methods, together with a trio of patriotic songs that, within the present local weather, border on a political assertion that fiercely patriotic Berlin — the son of Russian immigrants — will surely approve of. “Give me your fatigue, your poor”, a tribute to the Statue of Liberty’s welcome message to these looking for a greater life right here, results in “It is an important nation” after which to “God bless America “.

For the latter, the spectators are invited to sing alongside. How may they not?

  • Size: 2 hours together with intermission
  • The place: Winter Park Playhouse, 711 N. Orange Ave. at Winter Park
  • When: After a Thanksgiving hiatus, the present returns from December 1-17
  • Value: $39 to $46 (scholar and leisure business employee reductions out there)
  • Data: winterparkplayhouse.org

Discover me on Twitter @matt_on_arts, fb.com/matthew.j.palm or write to me at [email protected]. Need extra theater and humanities information and opinions? Go to orlandosentinel.com/arts. For extra enjoyable issues, comply with @enjoyable.issues.orlando on Instagram, Fb and Twitter.